This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings


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“My New Year’s Resolutions” or “Why I won’t make resolutions”

I HATE New Year’s Resolutions. I’m all for taking stock and rethinking one’s plan of attack for getting through each day. I’m on board with the concept of looking over the last year and deciding what worked for you and what didn’t, for consciously making decisions to try and adapt habits that improve one’s life and the lives of those around you. I think the New Year gives most people a great opportunity to mark the passage of another year by doing just that and then making a list of the things they resolve to do in the next calendar year. I also think it’s an invitation for failure and I screw up enough all the time without spelling out the ways I will fail at the beginning of the year.

I try to spend time contemplating how to improve my habits. Sometimes I even try to grab hold of a new plan and make new, better habits. I do this all the time. I am sometimes successful and sometimes not so successful. I don’t spend enough time evaluating, and often I just keep on doing the same old thing because that’s easiest. If I have just one real, honest, improve-my-life resolution, it’s to spend more time and effort evaluating what’s working and what isn’t and to ditch the less than productive habits and actively search out and attempt to ingrain more productive habits. There. That vague enough for you? I mean I do mean to do this. But I have specifically worded it in such a way that there is not measurable criteria to ascertain my success or failure in keeping this resolution.

I was thinking about this whole resolution thing as I checked in on Facebook this morning and came across a post by a friend and fellow blogger. Stacey is a full-time pastor, mom, wife, doctoral student, and crazy productive crafter whose handknits look lovely and often make me drool over her posts. She decided to post her Whimsolutions for 2014, and they’re awesome. Why do “resolutions” HAVE to be about losing weight and eating better, being more organized and frugal, or spending more time on my homework. I knew I should be doing that stuff in October, what makes it easier to accomplish in January? The whimsolutions are just fun. They’re still about improving my quality of life, and that of my family. I am totally stealing this idea, okay not really stealing since I gave her credit, but I’m absolutely copying her.

My Whimsolutions for 2014

1. Learn to knit.

I don’t have to finish some great project or learn a bunch of different methods. I don’t have to make any Christmas gifts for next year or any other such thing. I just want to knit something scarf-like. YouTube tutorials, here I come!

2. Take my daughter shopping more.

She still trusts Grandma and Mommy to dress her and though she has opinions about the things in her closet, she’s mostly happy to let us buy her clothes without her and dress her up. That’s fine, but the time spent together sorting through the clothing racks is excellent girlie bonding time. I think we could be chatting about things we might not talk about at the kitchen table or when I tuck her in at night. I always want to press that you-can-talk-to-me-about-anything vibe and shopping seems to be ideal. Plus, it’s fun.

puzzle3. Do a big jigsaw puzzle with Middle Bird.

I think we might be able to get some of that same bonding time that shopping would afford Girlie and me. And I LOVE jigsaw puzzles. I think he will love them, too.

4. Take Baby Bird to the zoo more often.

We have a membership and we use it, but we could go more. He’ll be in school full time soon enough and I’ll miss the time we could have gone. The dishes can wait.

5. Bake more cookies.

Cookies are the perfect treat. You don’t have to eat a ton of them, and they can even be healthy, though I’m not necessarily committing to baking healthy cookies. This is a WHIMsolution you know. Maybe use this blog post (also recommended by Stacey) to perfect a chocolate chip cookie recipe that this family will love.

6. Buy and wear more fun socks.

I’m in a sock rut. I have five or six pairs of black, and five or six pairs of athletic ankle socks, and a handful of blah brown or black trouser type socks. I see people wearing bright socks and they look like fun. How can it not be?

7. Get manicures and pedicures.

Not all the time, I can’t afford an addiction. But once in a while pay someone else to groom my nails. I’m always happy when I do it, but I haven’t in years.

 

I guess I didn’t really land on a theme, but over all I want to spend more energy on bonding with my kids and doing things that aren’t strictly necessary but that improve our quality of life. Wish me luck?

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Some Thoughts On Shopping

We’re hurdling headlong into the holidays, and, man, do I have stuff to say! Right!? I mean, I know all you out there who actually know me in real life (no comments about how nobody else is reading, please) are just shocked that I have opinions on stuff, AND that I’m willing to actually speak them out loud. Try to settle down. I’ll wait while you allow this foreign concept of Bird with opinions to sink in. HA! I crack myself up.

I’m reading my Facebook feed and there’s feed and there’s just so much to have opinions about! And some of it I might even be right about. Though (and this part might actually shock you) I am willing to admit that I might be wrong. Probably not, and you’ll have to convince me, but maybe, so go ahead and tell me if you think I am. Let’s just keep it off Facebook. That seems smart these days, no?

I have opinions on some stuff that just don’t amount to much. I mean, I’m not going to try to convince you one way or another here. Just spout. Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping. I keep seeing this stuff on my feed. No, I don’t have a problem with these ideas, but it just all seems so self-righteous to post them on your wall. And I know that the folks whose walls I swiped them from are good people who mean well. I know that they feel these things strongly and truly feel that they are helping to make our country a better place by reposting these. And I also know, or hope I’m right, that they will follow through and actually buy local when they can and stay out of retail on Thanksgiving day. This isn’t about an opportunity to judge. But I can’t do it. I can’t just post it and not comment at length. I’ll put them here instead and ramble for a while about the ideas they represent, okay?

1455046_10151990479314255_799574030_n1379721_310997639040818_1215215804_nWAR ON THANKSGIVING?  Really? I’m pretty sure the retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving are not trying to eliminate this holiday. Rather, they NEED there to be a Thanksgiving to mark the all out craziness that is the “holiday shopping season.” It’s true that they didn’t use to open their doors on Thanksgiving. It’s true that the season used to begin the day AFTER Thanksgiving, but I’ll get to the Black Friday thing in a minute. For now, let’s just unpack the whole open on Thanksgiving thing. So, now that shopping on Thanksgiving IS a thing, now that millions of dollars will be changing hands that day, now that the shoppers are there, you really want more retailers to look at that money and just say no. You want them to just turn down their share of those dollars because it’s the right thing to do? Yes, you say, that’s exactly it. Well, okay, fine. I am totally on board with believing in people to do the right thing for the right reason, even if it costs them financially. It’s sort of like non-compulsory charitable giving. We can count on people to do the right thing, so we don’t need use tax dollars to pay for quite so many of the things some people need because we can count on people and private organizations to do the right thing for the right reasons, right? Hmm. Seems like we’ve disagreed on that before.

1375056_10153305787625538_5380466_nThen there’s this one. It’s not a bad idea. I have no beef with the idea of buying locally. In fact, I think it’s great if my local businesses get some business out of it. There’s a wonderful new bakery in downtown Worthington and you should totally check them out. Sassafras Bakery has gotten rave revues and I hope it thrives, but come on. A pie is like, $30. I don’t think that’s over priced for what you get. After all, someone lovingly prepared this pie from fine fresh ingredients just for you. I’ll bet it’s the best pie you can find in town. But if I decide to find money in the budget for pie that my aunt didn’t make, I’m gonna pick up one from the Kroger bakery for $8. Will it be as good? Probably not, but I’ll still have another $22 to spend on the boxed cereal and non-organic milk. Do I WANT to that local bakery to do well? Hell yeah. (At least a little bit because it’s in the building that used to hold the stationery shop where I ordered my wedding invitations, but I’m sometimes a bit irrational like that.) I want them to thrive. I hope they pay their employees well. I hope people feel all that wonderful, homey, community love every time they walk in the door. I’m thinking I need to stop by for a cookie and a cup of coffee today. (I have some time since the Baby Bird is going to Grandma’s.) But I can’t local businesses are very often much more expensive. Not because they want to be, but because of the economic issues involved. I get that. It’s complicated, but that doesn’t mean I have more disposable income. As for gifts? Yeah, I’ll likely look for smaller (possibly higher priced) items. I would rather give a lovely pair of handknitted gloves for the same price as a whole set of mass produced winter gear. But I can’t be guilted into not buying the more reasonably priced fleece gloves for my three kids because I would go broke buying them ALL handknits and meanwhile their hands are cold.

And then there’s the whole chaos of Black Friday. I know some of you love it. Some of you will set your alarm clocks for the middle of the night and then you’ll go out in your pajamas and delight in the whirlwind race of elbows and ramming shopping carts to get the two 60″ TVs that are for sale for $50. But it just doesn’t appeal to me at all. Not because I don’t like to shop. I do. It may be my most favorite past time. But not that day. The joy has been completely sucked out of it for me that day. I like to browse, to pick things up, to imagine buying it, owning it or giving it, to picture using it or how I might wrap it. I love scanning the entire department for the item that will catch my attention and call me to further investigate. I like to imagine the person receiving the item. I need to do all that to make a purchase decision. On Black Friday, none of that is possible. I don’t mind if it’s busy. I love feeling like I’m sharing all that experience with lots of other folks out because they have loved ones to buy for. I just don’t want to be knocked down at any point in the process. I don’t want to purchase anything because the sale will run out in eight seconds or because if I don’t the lady behind me will get it and that ain’t right because I got up earlier and I deserve it and GET OUT OF MY WAY!

I won’t be shopping on Thanksgiving because I am one of the lucky ones. I don’t ever want to forget for one second how lucky I am. Not only will I be gathered with my family in a warm, safe place, but there will be more food than we know what to do with. We will all of us eat until it gets boring. It will be completely unnecessary to eat the food we will consume that day. Totally unhealthy, and perhaps even unsafe. Some of us will drink a little too much. No one will worry too much about where we will sleep that night. We will all enjoy the luxury of our own pompous idea that we somehow need all the excess of that celebration. That will keep me way too busy to bother with shopping on Thanksgiving. My children will never wonder if mom is going shopping on the fourth Thursday of November and hopefully, it will never occur to them to go. The day after we will look for something light to eat, and revel in the bonus day off that Daddy gets. We’ll probably have some other family obligation to see to. We will stay as far away from retailers as possible because shopping just isn’t fun that day. Except, wait, that’s not true. We will have a party on Saturday, so I will have to go to the grocery on Black Friday. Let’s hope Kroger isn’t giving away iPods or selling too many super cheap TVs. For those two days we won’t participate in the chaos. If other folks do, well, than they do. I’m grateful none of my loved ones work in retail these days, but if they did and had to miss Thanksgiving, we’d probably celebrate around their schedule in some way and remember to mention their employment in our prayers of thanksgiving.

I’ve also got opinions of UGGs and the revelation that they are made of sheep skin (uh, okay), engineering toys for girls, the governor of Oklahoma, the mayor of Toronto, and a whole bunch of other political tidbits. I guess none of them are all that astounding, though. I better post this for now. Stay tuned for a general life update in then next day or two.


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Just a note…

I couldn’t let a day pass without posting just simply because I haven’t yet.  So, I don’t really have anything all that valuable to share today, but here we are.

Of note today:

1) This little blog had topped out at 47 visits a day since it’s inception a week and a half ago.  I posted that bit about the Wizard of Oz last night and tagged my 18 year old cousin and one of her co-stars on Facebook, and suddenly I’ve got more than three times the normal traffic.  Sweet.  🙂

2) The Brownie troop has been saved!  My co-leader and I have both resigned.  She is moving out of the district and her daughter will go to a different school, and I’m swamped with school stuff.  We have been pleading with the other mothers for months for someone to step up and take over.  We’d only had one taker before, but we learned that there is another tonight.  The troop will NOT disban.  These girls will go into 4th grade as a troop.  That’s wonderful because they’ve been together, most of the anyway, since kindergarten!

3) I have a final paper due for my class on Sunday night.  I have not begun it, and I won’t get to it tomorrow, either.  Mom and I are going shopping for the kids’ Easter outfits.  It will be fun, and I can’t wait.  We’ll have Baby Bird with us, but Grandpa will pick up Girlie and Middle, so we’ll be off the hook for deadlines.  

4) Those prick boys in Stuebenville got off too easy and I’m sick to death of the media playing up the “poor boys with the promising future” thing.  My nearly eight-year-old son knows that what they did was ridiculously wrong.  There’s no excuse for them.

5) Hillary Clinton came out in support of Marriage Equality today.  Nobody batted an eye except to mention that it might be in preparation for a run for the presidency.  No grief.  No “what took her so long.”  Major double standard folks.  Let’s welcome all who figure it out to the table.  

That’s it for tonight, folks.  See you after shopping tomorrow.  When I will be putting off the research for my paper.  


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A Quick Trip to Target

Well, thank God I came up with this blog thing. I was running out of ideas for procrastinating on my homework. I thought I was going to have to clean a toilet there for a while. Sadly, though, as I go about my regular chores I think about all the stuff I should blog about, then I sit down at the keyboard and come up with nothing. That’s pretty standard, I suppose, right? Not exciting.

So, let us look at this morning’s trip to the Target. We ran out of diapers. Really. I got the kid out of bed this morning, changed him out of his very wet Pull-Up and into the last one in the house. I don’t think that has ever happened in the nine years I’ve been a parent. Whatever. So, we’re going about our regular morning activities. I got the big kids out the door. I got the Daddy Bird (better or worse than Bird Dude, you think?) out the door. I got dressed. I poured a second cup of coffee. (Man, all of that seems so much more orderly and neat than the actuality of the situation.) Then I got a whiff of something, um, unpleasant. Unpleasant and familiar. Shit. Literally. I had hoped we had a few more hours if I made him pee in the potty at least once.

Okay, so we won’t have the luxury of time. I will not finish this coffee. I put the Baby Bird’s shoes on and off we headed to Target. Now, I know that all you mom’s can relate to this part. A pack of 42 Pull-Ups costs about $20. We also needed milk, about $3. Oh, and my mom called while we were there to go over dinner plans (it’s Chaos Thursday, but I’ll talk about that later), and we needed to pick up frozen green beans, about $1. So, I should have gotten out of there for about $25, right? Um, nooooo. I did pretty well, though. I only spent $72! That’s less than three times what I went in there to spend! And I did NOT buy the two pack of throw pillows that almost match my family room. I did NOT buy the spring cushions for the outdoor furniture that will almost certainly sell out long before it’s warm enough to enjoy sitting on them. That alone would have been $200! I did NOT buy the decadent looking chocolate covered ice cream bars on clearance for half price. I did NOT buy the pretty hot pink jean jacket that Girlie Bird would just love. So, for all the stuff I didn’t buy I can feel good about the pair of shoes I bought for Middle Bird that are exactly like the pair I bought him last week but were two big. I found them even cheaper today and one size smaller.  And I did buy myself a thermal henley shirt that was half off. I can’t wait to sleep in it. And I did buy a vinyl tablecloth I only kind of like, but it will let the kids work on the dining room table with things like scissors, glue, and other stuff that scares me. And a spout and closure for wine bottles. I’m always on the hunt for a way to enjoy a glass of wine without committing to a whole bottle. Maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you about my boxed wine hunting odyssey!

Such is my illness, even shoes for someone else, who already owns a pair but in a different size, are exciting on clearance.

Such is my illness, even shoes for someone else, who already owns a pair but in a different size, are exciting on clearance.

So, I spent $72 when I meant to spend $25. You can’t judge me. You know you’ve done it. I choose to focus on the pretty spring scarf I put back because I don’t have anything to match it and I just wasn’t up to digging through the tee shirts for the XXL I’d need. What is with that? Like I’m the BIGGEST woman to ever shop at Target?